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Cowboy dreams and grandmother memories

September 11, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

I should have been a cowboy.

Oh, that falling off every horse I ever got on thing would have hampered my career, but the love of something almost always wins.

I do love horses. And it doesn't hurt to watch a cowboy sitting at ease in the saddle, shifting from side to side, moving around without falling off. What kind of a cowboy would he be if he fell off when he moved?

Ah, some dreams are just that. Dreams. Something kept deep in your heart to make you smile at the oddest times and to give other people something to wonder about. Unexpected smiles unnerve folk.

Today is Grandparents Day, a day declared a national holiday in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. To celebrate, there's no limit to the number of things people tell other people to do. That would be irritating, if it weren't for something so nice.

Still, it's a good bet most of us know exactly how to celebrate Grandparents Day. I'd do it for sure, except my grandparents - Frieda and Gus Hansch and Lyle Margaret and Charles Pitsor - are all dead now and I'm not a grandparent myself.

Unless you count my daughter's two dogs, which would make me a grand-dog parent. Mom hated it when I said that. Funny what some people dislike, even stuff that isn't dislikable on its own.

Grandma Lyle disliked her name. Said it made her feel like a man. So she almost always ran the Margaret in after the Lyle when she was telling a person she's just met what her name was.

What's really odd is just as much as she disliked being plain, old Lyle, I thought it was just a little pompous to add Margaret to the telling. Her mother must have loved Lyle or Grandma Lyle wouldn't have been Grandma Lyle. She might have been Grandma Genevieve. Or Grandma Alice. Or Elizabeth Marie.

I knew a Genevieve I loved. Genevieve Christenson, the mother of Mark and Mike Christenson, wife of Ernest. We called him Chris. Creative, huh? Mark was in my class at school. He died soon after graduation in a car accident. Chris and Gen are gone, too. I often go past their graves at the Newark Township Cemetary just to say hi. To remember.

Today is also national Patriot Day, a day to remember, to honor the victims and heroes of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. President George W. Bush proclaimed Sept. 11, 2002, be observed as "Patriot Day" and that's been happening since.

So, whether it's something you feel compelled to do because you've been told to do it, or it's something you do because you feel compelled, today is the perfect day to honor your grandparents however you want to do so.

If it includes a way to honor and to remember the fallen heroes of 9/11, well, that's just so much the better.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-02141 or



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